I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
August 26, 2021
Old Nashville meets New Nashville at Mother’s Ruin, an NYC-based Germantown hotspot that combines speedy free pour cocktails with next-level bar food.
“I keep hearing about Mother’s Ruin,” I told my husband a few weeks ago. “I think we should go there.”
“What makes it so great?” he asked.
“Well, here’s what I know,” I said. “It’s in Germantown at the corner of Monroe and 6th Avenue North, where The Mad Platter used to be. It’s a bar out of New York City that’s known for making cocktails really fast. Like, really really fast.”
“And that’s a good thing?” he asked.
“I wondered the same thing!” I laughed. “I mean, I want people to take care with my cocktails. But a bunch of people love it, so… Oh, and there’s another thing. They’re known for being open 365 days a year.”
“I hate them,” Dennis said. “I’m not going. People should be home with their families on Christmas day.”
“Also, their cheeseburgers and Old Bay seasoned waffle fries are supposed to be amazing,” I said.
“Let’s give them a try,” Dennis said.
That’s how we ended up at Mother’s Ruin on a recent Wednesday night. Since they don’t take reservations, we had a backup plan of Von Elrod’s or 5th and Taylor, both of which are nearby. However, luck was on our side — We found street parking right next to the building and there were two open stools at the bar when we went inside.
My first impression? Mother’s Ruin is the absolute epitome of New Nashville. They’ve taken a historic, uniquely Nashville space and totally New York-i-fied it, although they mercifully left the exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, and iconic Germantown exterior intact. The decor here is spare. The cocktails have names like ‘Demonbreun Fucks’ and ‘Larry Bird’s Underwear.’ The music is decidedly (and wonderfully) un-Nashville-like. The bartenders are tatted up and look like they could jump over the counter and brawl at a moment’s notice. For a moment, Dennis and I sat and just took it all in. “If The Mad Platter could actually have died and then been buried, it would be spinning in its grave right now,” I whispered. Metaphorically, this was a stretch. It was also TOTALLY ACCURATE.
“What can I get ya?” our bartender asked in a heavy New York accent.
“I’ll have a Sean Glenn’s Opinion,” I answered. Right away, he began flipping bottles and shakers with the seasoned nonchalance of a juggler at a rich kid’s birthday party. Clearly, he’d been expertly trained and the effect was mesmerizing. Seconds later, he sloshed my drink into a glass and slid it toward me. I took a sip. It was wonderful.
“I like this bar,” I said, smiling. My husband, who’d just tasted his drink, the Larry Bird’s Underwear, smiled back. “So do I,” he said.
Apparently, the cook staff got the same speed memo as the bartenders, because the double cheeseburger and fries we ordered after that were set before us just a few minutes later. And they were every bit as good as I’d heard. I’d call the burger ‘upscale Hugh Baby’s‘, with crispy smashed patties, lots of cheddar, and an excellent bun. The fries were seasoned and crisped to perfection and the spicy ketchup definitely took things up a notch.
We followed the burgers up with Oreo Bombs – deep fried Oreos with a vanilla icing dip — and with that, we became Mother’s Ruin fans for life.
The crowd at Mother’s Ruin is hip, young, professional, and very local. The menu is surprisingly sophisticated for bar food and includes items like charred brussels sprouts, a smoked trout caesar, smashed avocado toast, and a creole shrimp roll. There’s also a brunch menu that’s available daily until 4pm, and the kitchen (and this includes takeout and delivery orders) is open every night until 1:30am. And there’s a good-sized patio out back for those of you who like to sit outside when the weather’s nice.
This is going to become one of our date night favorites, mainly because there just aren’t many places in Nashville with both a really cool bar and an affordable and delicious dinner menu. I recommend it for dates and groups of friends, and for impressing your out-of-town guests with a night out at a true local hotspot that’s got an old school feel to it.
Got questions? Comments? Contact me.